Susan O'Dell Underwood
Poet and writer Susan O'Dell Underwood started this publishing company in order to publish her own work and the work of other deserving writers and artists in the southern Appalachian region. Her first chapbook of poetry, From, is available from Finishing Line Press. Underwood earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her PhD in English from Florida State University. She has been teaching at Carson-Newman University since 1990, where she is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program. She won the 2004 Tennessee Arts Commission Literary Grant for Genesis Road, a novel.
Iris Press (based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) released Susan O’Dell Underwood’s poetry collection The Book of Awe in October of 2018.
Underwood's work has appeared in several journals and anthologies, such as The Oxford American, Rock & Sling, Appalachian Journal, Now & Then, The Tusculum Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee. Her book of poems Love and Other Hungers is the first publication of Sapling Grove Press.
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Praise for Love and Other Hungers:
"Susan O’Dell Underwood’s Love and Other Hungers delights in a rich lyricism and is refreshingly unafraid to pair sensorial engagement with philosophical reflection, even guidance. These beautiful poems reflect a mind of great imaginative reach and range. Indeed, in many of these lucidly wrought lines, Underwood takes us into the minds of other creatures, helps us to understand all love and suffering, and builds a whirlwind of language, placing each word just so “to complete the waiting haven-hovel,//leaving to the human world/our otherworldly frescoes, false with rapture,/our mosaic-lade basilicas gone prosaic/in light of her lightning work.” Expansive, openhearted, and luminous, Love and Other Hungers is a collection I’ll return to for its wisdom and honesty."
William Wright -- Series Editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology; Author of Night Field Anecdote, Bledsoe, and Tree Heresies
"Love and Other Hungers explores the infinite voices of birds -- cardinals, thrushes, robins -- trying to hear “what kind of voice each one has.” Sometimes ephemeral, always ubiquitous, the presence of birds reminds us that there is something inside us that heeds “a thing that needs to sing.” Perhaps, like the birds, this maker of poems sings “for the life [she] can barely contain.” And why not? Plaintive and restless and urgent, these poems invite us to climb inside “this note, this note/this, this, this note,” the “intimate syllables” everywhere present throughout the “whole wondrous kingdom.”
Jeff Hardin -- Author of Notes for a Praise Book
"Susan O’Dell Underwood’s new poetry collection presents a passionate journey, deftly knitted with sharp sensory language and an abiding love of birds. Her poems are filled with energy, sorrow and surprise as “canny and urgent as unswallowing fire.” From East Tennessee to Mt. Rainier to the Mediterranean, from childhood knowledge of death to the “gaping caskets” of adulthood, and from romantic love to a platonic love of nature, Underwood teaches us the deep artistic and spiritual importance of paying attention to the small wonders of this world."
Bill Brown -- Author of The News Inside, and forthcoming Elemental